Written by Jeff Loveness
Art by Jakub Rebelka
Many of us know the story of Judas and I give credit to the writer and artist of this first issue to take something this high concept and attempt to carve out a narrative based on a story that is universally known among many faiths. It’s even harder to try to take that same story and make Judas a sympathetic figure, let alone the lead of the piece, but that’s what this limited series is trying to do.
In this first issue, Judas is asking an existential question about not only his place in the world, but his purpose and whether those things happened due to circumstance or if they were ordained by powers beyond his understanding. Judas asks these questions as he recalls the circumstances that have brought him to the underworld He wonders if he was chosen for this purpose and if he ever had a choice in the matter. Was he destined to betray Jesus? Was his entire life set up as a means to this one end?
As Judas finds himself in the beyond, he is plagued by the memories of those he loved and lost. He thinks of his mother and her words to him and the uneventful way that she died. He thinks of the man Jesus who called on him to follow and he laments if this is the fate that will fall everyone who Jesus has finished with. As he walks alone, he hides from giant creatures feeding on the damned who run in horror with nowhere to go. He thinks back on the final voice. The one who filled him with doubt and made him question Jesus and the world itself.
As Judas continues to tell his story and make his way through the darkness, he finds that the final voice is leading him to its source and something that is completely unknown to both the reader and the subject himself.
It can be difficult to thread this fine a needle with a concept this big and imposing, but there is a real sense of reasoned humanity presented in this first issue. Loveness has done a really good job of starting this journey in a way that doesn’t excuse Judas’ actions, but does have the audience ask some of the same questions about his place in the greatest story ever told. Rebelka’s art is amazing. It is subtle and reminiscent of classic art pieces that many of the panels look like they were taken from paintings. This is an interesting story from the first issue and I hope it is building to something even more interesting in the next one.